The most exciting news from the National Genealogical Society Conference in Cincinnati is that volunteers have now indexed over 30% of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census of 3.8 million records in just 37 days. Six states have now gone through the finalizing process (which takes about a week) with Oregon and Virginia going online on Wednesday. As of this moment Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia and New Hampshire are now fully indexed and posted online at Archives.com, FindMyPast.com, National Archives, ProQuest, and FamilySearch.org.

Lucky for me… I just happened to have all kinds of family living in Oregon, Colorado, and Virginia in 1940. This is all very exciting for me. Thanks to over 100,000 volunteers, my family history is expanding rapidly.

I did not know specifically where my father lived in Oregon in 1940 until today. With my grandson, Nicholas, in one arm I stopped by the FamilySearch.org booth at the NGS Conference and did a quick check of the index for the 1940 Oregon census. I found him instantly. I’d known that he lived in the same home with his sister and niece. However, I didn’t know or I’d forgotten that my twice-widowed grandmother, Nellie, also lived with them. One tiny tidbit that I found fascinating was that Dad (Theodore Meitzler) was farming, and rented their home for $5 a month. He married my mother to following January 1 (1941).

The following News Release gives more details:

SALT LAKE CITY, May 09, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project announced today the availability of a free, searchable index of 1940 U.S. census records for six U.S. states, including Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia and New Hampshire. Records for these states are now searchable by name, location and family relations thanks to the efforts of more than 100,000 volunteers nationwide.

“For the past month, Community Project partners have worked to establish the first free, searchable database of 1940 U.S. census records made possible entirely through the hard work of volunteers,” said Josh Taylor, spokesperson for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. “We’re proud to bring easily searchable 1940 U.S. census records for Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia and New Hampshire online for people to learn about their ancestors and life and times in these states more than 72 years ago.”

Since April 2, Community Project volunteers have indexed more than 45 million records and this number continues to grow quickly as more than 10,000 volunteers sign up each week. Those interested in lending a hand can learn more and sign up to be an official 1940 U.S. census volunteer indexer at the 1940 census website (the1940census.com). The project will release searchable records for individual states on an ongoing basis with an aim to make the entire 1940 U.S. census searchable by the end of 2012.

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is a joint initiative between the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com, ProQuest and other leading genealogy organizations. Thanks to advancements in technology and to volunteers nationwide, Project partners and volunteers can lend a voice to countless untold stories of their ancestors living, working and persevering as the “Greatest Generation.”

“When you index U.S. census records, what you’re essentially doing is stepping back in time and walking in the shoes of the enumerator some 72 years prior,” said Megan Smolenyak, spokesperson for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. “The indexing experience is much like walking down a street, ringing doorbells and learning about a specific neighborhood in 1940. Only now, volunteers can explore these fascinating records from the comfort of our own homes.”

To learn more about the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project and to track real-time progress of volunteer indexing efforts, visit the1940census.com.

About the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project (the1940census.com)
The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is a web-based, national service project with the goal of creating as soon as possible a free, high quality online index linked to the complete set of census images. The index will allow the public to easily search every person found in the census and view digital images of the original census pages. The collection will be available online for free to the general public at 1940census.archives.gov, Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com and by ProQuest.com through public libraries. All of these organizations are respective website sponsors of the community project. Archives.com, findmypast.com, and ProQuest will make substantial financial contributions to make the 1940 U.S. census online name index possible and will work with the nonprofit organization FamilySearch to bring additional new historic records collections online–making even more highly valued family history resources available to the entire genealogical community.